Unity forged in era of strikes

Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool branch of the Federation of Small Businesses.

Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool branch of the Federation of Small Businesses.

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Between the 1960’s and 1980’s, the UK citizens suffered from strikes in nearly every industry of the day, steel, mining and car manufacturing to name but a few.

These industries were financed by the Government – it was called nationalisation.

We as tax payer’s in turn finance the Government and technically the tax payer owned the businesses, a bit like Northern Rock today.

Trade unions were originally set up to support the workers and ensure that they earned better pay and working conditions. If the employers tried to or actually introduced something that the unions felt was unfair, then they had the option of holding a vote / ballot with its membership for strike action.

Every time a strike was voted for, it had a knock on effect.

For example, there would be a delivery delay of weeks and months to a country we had agreed to export cars or steel to.

So in the days of Leyland Cars, foreign customers would get fed up waiting for their shipment and would end up going to another country to buy their cars, so the UK suffered a loss of customer, sales and in turn loss of revenue.

So our customers looked at buying their goods elsewhere and manufacturing was lost to the Far East, who not only were reliable and delivered on time but they also sold cheaper and better made products.

Because of strikes, small businesses in the supply chain would go bust with thousands losing their jobs and facing financial hardships.

So when the Blackpool based Federation of Small Businesses was formed in 1974, it became a trade union for small businesses, because it protects the interests of the small business owner, when no-one else cares!

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